Jimmy Greaves

Jimmy Greaves

Jimmy Greaves played his first Football League game in 1957, scoring on his Chelsea debut. By the time he retired in 1971 his goals total stood at 491, 357 in league matches for Chelsea, Spurs and West Ham. Jimmy set a record of scoring on his debut for each new team he played for, including England. Though he scored 44 times for his country, with a better ratio than Bobby Charlton, in just 57 internationals, Jimmy missed out on the World Cup win in 1966.


The scoring record of Jimmy Greaves is phenomenal. He became the youngest player to reach a hundred league goals, on 19th November 1960, when he scored in the 6-3 victory over Manchester City. Jimmy reached his 200 goals aged 23 years and 290 days, exactly the same age as `Dixie` Dean when he reached that milestone.

Between 1958 and 1969 Jimmy finished top scorer in the First Division six times, the first player to so do and Jimmy headed the goal scoring list in each of his first 12 seasons in the Football League.
In 1961 he had a brief spell with AC Milan, scoring nine goals in just 12 games, before Bill Nicholson paid £99,999 to take him to White Hart Lane, in December of that year. Bill didn`t pay the extra pound because he didn`t want Jimmy to have the albatross of being the first £100,000 player hanging around his neck.

Jimmy ended the 1962-63 season by breaking the Spurs` scoring record that was held by Bobby Smith. He scored 37 goals in 41 league matches and the five European goals, in just six games, gave him an incredible total of 42 in 48 matches.

Nine seasons at Spurs yielded well over 200 goals in 321 appearances plus FA Cup winners` medals in 1962, when he scored the opening goal in the 3-1 victory over Burnley, and 1967, when he helped Tottenham to a 2-0 victory over his former club Chelsea.

Jimmy also won the European Cup Winners` Cup in 1963 and, naturally, was on the score sheet, netting twice as a 5-1 triumph over Athletico Madrid that saw Spurs become the first British side to claim a European trophy.

In 1970 Greaves left for West Ham as part of the deal that took Martin Peters in the opposite direction but despite the fact that he scored on his debut, ironically against Manchester City, Jimmy wasn’t able to recapture the form that earned him the accolade of probably the greatest scoring talent ever to grace English football and retired aged 31.

It's testimony to the impact of Jimmy made on British football that it was a common cry amongst boys, the length and breadth of the country, that a goal scored in playground football was usually followed by the remark, `who do you think you are, Jimmy Greaves`.